From both sides, stranded.

In Judaism, one’s mother must be Jewish in order to be ‘officially recognized’ as Jewish. Because it was my father who was Jewish, I didn’t count. And although I was born in Japan, I was not granted citizenship because only my mother was Japanese. From both sides, stranded. When I was 18, I decided to convert to Judaism. My mother was supportive, but she insisted that if I were to have a mikvah I must also start taking Japanese lessons. I’m not sure why she though these two things went together, or that they somehow balanced each other out. Balance was something both my parents strove for. Balance was important, they explained.

Naomi Angel, “On the Train,” in Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, edited by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson (Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2010): 143.